The Truth is Powerful

Climate justice: A new look at combating systemic racism

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett From unprecedented heat waves in the Pacific Northwest to devastating hurricanes in the Southeast, climate change has caused significant damage to the United States. This issue is one that has attracted a lot of mainstream activism — with the environmentalist movement being wildly popular for decades. Today, however, especially in light of the widely publicized discourse surrounding systemic racism , many social justice activists are challenging mainstream environmentalism. These champions of racial and social equity claim that the modern climate movement is heavily whitewashed and ignores the most vulnerable victims of extreme weather: Black and Brown folks. The inequitable impact of climate-related disasters and anomalies takes many forms. Black and Indigenous people die as a result of overheating at disproportionate rates. A study over 14 years (2004-2018) published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that non-Hispanic whites make up the largest number of deaths by overheating, but Indigenous people have the highest rate of overheating deaths (0.6 per 100,000) and Black people with the second highest rate (0.3 per 100,000). This disparity can be attributed to what the CDC refers to as “social vulnerabilities” that are systemically tacked onto minority groups. From living […]

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